Receiving Stolen Property In Florida
Everything is so expensive these days that it only makes sense to jump at the opportunity to buy something when you find it for sale at an affordable price. Be careful when someone tries to sell you something at rock bottom prices, though. When something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and you could end up facing criminal charges for receiving stolen property. If you sell property at dangerously tempting prices, you can also get into legal trouble. The consequences are the most severe if prosecutors can prove that you are knowingly participating in a complex operation of stealing property and then reselling it. Of course, there are two sides to every story, and defendants are always entitled to a chance to cast doubt on the prosecution’s version of events. If you are being accused of buying or selling stolen property, contact a Tampa theft lawyer.
The Value of the Property Does Not Matter, but It Does Matter Whether You Knew It Was Stolen
With charges of simple theft, the penalty depends largely on the value of the stolen item. Stealing a jewelry box full of diamond rings will get you a long prison sentence, whereas if you steal a box of Mike and Ike’s, the penalty will probably just be a fine or community service. If the charges are for dealing in stolen property, which includes the purchase, sale, or transfer of property that you know is stolen, the retail sale price of the item is not what matters. You can get the same penalty for buying a stolen pencil sharpener as you can for buying a stolen car. The important thing is whether you knew that the property was stolen.
Before you can be convicted of dealing in stolen property, the prosecution must prove that you knew or reasonably should have known that the property was stolen. These are some instances where a defendant can be expected to reasonably have known that the items they bought were stolen:
- Clothing or other retail merchandise had anti-theft tags still attached.
- The ignition on a vehicle was bypassed or broken.
- The seller sold the merchandise well below market value without a good explanation for this.
One possible defense to charges of receiving stolen property is that you found the property abandoned or someone gave it to you as a gift. You may also be able to argue that there was a good reason for the seller to sell the items so cheaply. Perhaps you bought nutritional supplements or makeup dirt cheap from someone who was getting out of the multilevel marketing business. Maybe the merchandise was part of an extraordinarily successful loss leader promotion. Every situation is unique, and your lawyer can help you find the best defense to use.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for buying or selling stolen property or attempting to orchestrate its sale. Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.